Currys has reported of a “challenging” Christmas for the end of 2021 “with uneven customer demand and supply disruption”.
However, in its latest trading update, the retail giant said appliances large and small enjoyed strong sales, as consumers continued to kit out their homes.
In the 10 weeks to 8 January, sales in the UK and Ireland were down six per cent year-on-year. The company added that it gained market share as customers benefitted from its “full omnichannel model”; to that end, UK& and Ireland peak online sales were up 29 per cent in this latest period compared to the same two years ago. International online sales rose 79 per cent against 2019-2020.
Chief Executive, Alex Baldock, said “this was a gamers’ Christmas, the year that virtual reality broke into the mainstream, and when consoles flew off the shelves.”
He said that Currys, which has over 800 shops across eight countries, performed well given market data suggests the UK tech market shrank by 10 per cent over Christmas after a bumper 2020.
But the business was also hit by supply chain problems that led to trouble sourcing goods over Christmas.
Mr Baldock added: “Against this backdrop, Currys’ colleagues showed their resilience and the stronger business we’ve built. We gained market share, improved customer satisfaction, traded profitably, and can look ahead with confidence.”
He also said “much hard work lies ahead”. The trading report forecasted a full-year adjusted pre-tax profit of about £155m, compared with £156m in 2020-2021.
Separately, Mr Baldock told BBC Radio 5 Live he would not cut sick pay for staff who were un-vaccinated against COVID-19, after recent announcements from Next and Ikea. He said Currys’ approach was to encourage and help colleagues to get vaccinated with some time off during the working day to do so.
Elsewhere, a £75 million share buyback, announced in November, begins today (14 January).